How Does Solar Work?
- Technical Terms includes commonly used terms, phrases and acronyms specific to the residential and commercial solar panel industry, such as Balance of System, The Grid, and Net Metering.
- FAQs provides some Frequently Asked Questions about How Does Solar Work?… and the Frequently Given Answers we provide about your utility company, performance and more.
By the way, this is our most popular Frequently Asked Question: How Does Solar Power Work?
Also known as solar modules, solar cells or photovoltaic (PV) cells, solar panels are made up of silicon “cells” that absorb photons from sunlight to create a photovoltaic effect. This enables the conversion of sunlight to electricity. Solar panels are then linked together to form “strings”, which combine to form “arrays” that are connected to your home or business via an inverter, delivering electricity to power your home or back to the grid.
We can change sunlight directly to electricity using solar cells. Every day, light hits your roof’s solar panels with photons (particles of sunlight). The solar panel converts those photons into electrons of direct current (“DC”) electricity. The electrons flow out of the solar panel and into an inverter and other electrical safety devices. The inverter converts that “DC” power (commonly used in batteries) into alternating current or “AC” power. AC power is the kind of electrical that your television, computer, and toasters use when plugged into the wall outlet.
A net energy meter keeps track of the all the power your solar system produces. Any solar energy that you do not use simultaneous with production will go back into the electrical grid through the meter. At night or on cloudy days, when your system is not producing more than your building needs, you will consume electricity from the grid as normal. Your utility will bill you for the “net” consumption for any given billing period and provide you with a dollar credit for any excess during a given period. You can carry your bill credit forward for up to a year.